Saturday, July 06, 2013

Marc Scaurus Is Right

That last week of June was something else, eh? Seismic Stan giving the Eve Blog Banter custodian hat to me, and Marc Scaurus looking for someone new to take over and the Eve Blog Pack. But the part that really got people worked up was when Marc said these words in his post:
Now, I’m personally still of the opinion that we should probably just let these things go. They are a remnant of a time when blogging was the next big thing on the internet. And no offense to any bloggers out there (I still read a lot of you and appreciate the work you put into your projects), that’s just not the case anymore. One could argue that blogging has become, for many (but not all) in the EVE community, simply a point of reference that you can tweet to in conversations that require more than 140 characters. Blogging just isn’t the same these days, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing or something we should try to fight against.
I saw a lot of posts and opinions that Marc is wrong, that this is his role as the editor of poking through trying to downplay and discredit blogging, and so forth and so such.

I hate to break it to you folks; Marc Scaurus is right. He's three years late to be right, but he's right nonetheless.

One of the advantages of being one of the oldest active and most prolific bloggers is that I remember what it was like at the beginning, when the Blog Pack and Banters started. When you could count on your fingers and toes the entirety of the Eve blogging community. And when it reached its height and counted over 500 active Eve blogs.

Now don't get me wrong; even in those heady days blogging never reached a huge portion of the general Eve populations. I was at the top of my game then (as my job was boring and I had many hours to spend on posting) and considered one of the top Eve blogs and I was barely known outside of the blogging community. But the fact was that outside of the game, forum posters and bloggers were the community metagame.

However, like any technology, new innovations began to cut into that dominance (such as it was) and surpass it.

I tend to mark 2010 as the year when things really began to change as that when the Iphone 3 and  3G and new Android phones really went from popular to everywhere. With almost everyone having access to smart phones, podcasts really started to reach more and more saturation in the Eve population. After all, you can download an episode and listen in the car, at work, jogging, almost anywhere! To read blogs you need an internet connection and web browser, and its easier to listen than to read. It can also be more engaging and animated than the dry words in a blog post. It takes a lot of work to be a decent blogger and get sort of well known, but even a shitty podcaster like me making 10 minute unedited podcasts twice a month can get ~900 listeners an episode.

Then, Twitter came along. its a vastly different medium than blogging, its a never-ending discussion where people jump in and out along the way as time permits. And its very in-the-now; no one will ever go back a year and re-read tweets like they do with blog posts. But its easy to join and compelling to participate or even lurk; information can be discussed, opinions garners, questions asked and answered... all things that we used to do more frequently with blogs but without the overhead of owning and having to post on a blog. Blog Banters still allow some of this communication and collaboration but the spontaneous efforts have dried up as the authors move to "microblogging" on twitter for the same purpose.

And now, more recently, another technology is growing in popularity: live-streaming through sites like Twitch.Tv. Here is another form of self publishing that is even more animated and compelling to watch and listen to than podcasts are. And producing them is even easier as you record as you play. And even larger audience is going to enjoy this new medium, including people outside of Eve. Mark my words, we've only begun to see the downstream effects of live streaming broadcasting.

Throw on top of all of that the growth of the "news sites" in and, where people can write analytic and newsworthy posts under the legitimacy and easy readership of a flag, and not have the overhead of maintaining a blog and generating a readership, and no wonder that many people see blogging as the art of a bygone era.

* * * * *

Blogging is not dead, and I honestly don't think it will ever die. A blogger almost always does it as a labour of love, not profit or sense of responsibility. And it still brings something to the table that the other mediums cannot: detailed analysis, guides, opinions, and just good old fashioned story telling in one convenient and patient spot. A thoughtful blog post will always be there waiting for you when you are ready to read. Details of ship fits can be read and digested at your pace. Links to tales you like easily shared.

The "independent" blogs may not have the readership reach of the big conglomerates but they don't have the hidden (or not so hidden) biases and agendas; they don't need to generate page counts for advertising, they don't have editors looking over shoulders and deciding what is worthy of publication and what is not.

Blogs will continue to exist in a smaller role than the past but that's OK. A few will reach beyond the borders and grab the attention of the larger Eve audience; like Jester's Trek for analysis and guides, like Poetic Discourse for controversy and opinion and style, like Freebooted for community building and promotion, and like Confessions of a Starship Politician for information dissemination. The rest will toil in relative obscurity but will always be worth reading to me.

Marc Scaurus is right but that does not mean we should not continue to write posts and share links and keep community sites alive. I'm glad has a new owner, and I look forward to continue to be on it as long as it lasts.


  1. It depends on how you view the argument. Just letting it die and fade away and avoiding blogs for different content is a different argument to sating things have changed and interests have changed and information consumption is different.

    There is more than one argument and more than one opinion in that comment.

    I'm a newbie. I know I'm an irrelevant voice of a newbie and ignorance with no true knowledge of Eve's past. And whole there may not by 600 blogs strong those there helped and supported and guided and encouraged

    I can't look at blogging the way you do in regards to Eve because of our time differences. It reminds me of what I often hear about my favorite ship, the Jaguar. They were better before and are not worth flying now.

    I'm not saying that you are saying blogs are not worth it or should go away. I'm saying that some of us only know the community now and love it and want to add to it and be a part of it and add to it. To be told that it was better isn't anything I can do anything about nor what I want its value based off of.

    But I have already babbled about all of this. I just feel strongly on the topic and rather discouraged and disheartened at those words Marc posted.

  2. Marc is right, but for the wrong reasons. Blogging no longer is the "next big thing" on the Internet, because things like twitter or twitch have arisen to claim their place. At the same time, blogging (specifically reading blogs) is not a thing of the past, because it still has strengths none of the other services can muster: it is asynchronous, it has a high information density, and it is hands-off.

    When I come home, I turn on my computer and a few minutes later (while I'm starting to make dinner) hundreds of blog posts appear. I could go on vacation for two weeks, and still I would get everything what has been written in that time. I don't have to read them all, but those I do read will take less time than it would take to listen to just one typical podcast. I can even respond, in comments, even days later. I can start reading a blog post, get distracted, and come back later and have to re-read just one paragraph to pick it up again.

    Twitter in comparison is the ultimate in ephemerality - if you're not there for a discussion, it might as well not have happened. Podcasts take a time commitment - I haven't listened to podcasts since April simply because they'd be only background noise to me; I wouldn't have been able to actually pay attention to what is being said. And streams like have the same problem to me that sports TV has: you're spending your time watching somebody else having fun.

    I am partly lucky in having a job which actually engages me intellectually, but the point stands: blogs are how I can interact with the more outspoken parts of the EVE community.

    And at no point in this little rant I have even touched the actual content. Because it's just like the old discussion of plays vs. books vs TV: Each have their strengths. All are important to have.

  3. I'm with Druur -- twitter moves too fast, and I can read many blogs in the time it would take me to listen to even a single podcast. And I can respond to a blog post and be a part of the conversation then. Podcasts are fire and forget.

    AFAIC, blogging is a vastly superior method of information dissemination to "the 2 next big things" that you have listed.

  4. The thing I took primary exception with about Marc's hand-off of EBP is that he put conditions on the hand-off that disqualified volunteers EVEN IF a person were the ONLY person to volunteer.

    Put another way, Marc would have rather seen EBP die than put it into the hands of someone who had run it before and then handed it off.

    I find it hard to express how silly I found that. Though obviously, I found a way to. ;-)